Conditioned Responses

Rental car paperwork before entering the one-way rental drop off location …


Okay, someone in our immediate family will typically travel every year during the winter and summer holidays.  This was our year to converge upon the home of one of our adult children. We just got back home today.

These holiday mini vacations are lots of fun and we have them down logistically – booking flights, knowing how much to pack and also figuring out how many days to stay in someone else’s home before it gets bothersome to everybody.

We’ve now been doing this long enough as a family that we are pretty effortless in putting the elements together … like renting a car this year to simply drive one-way from the airport to our children’s home.

The first photograph in this blog should hint that we had an adventure

This airport used artwork to augment what would otherwise be wasted space …


The flight was great. Luggage arrived with no issue. And, we drove the one-way rental car about an hour from the airport to our children’s home. No problems.

Then, we followed the directions in our car rental contract and went to the designated address to return the car the next day. Problems. Or, at least, issues.

It turns out that the company we rented our car from no longer operated an outlet in the town which we had purchased (and were sold) a one-way rental.

I found this out after going inside the business of a different name (call them “green”) and as soon as I approach the counter with the contract from my rental car company (call them yellow), both clerks tell me that my company does this all of the time. And, they can’t accept the car because it isn’t their car. Reasonable.

I’m not sure why, but none of this bothered me. I guess it seemed that nobody was thinking outside of their own cubicle and I became intrigued. Especially when the ‘green’ company staff told me that they had been dealing with the likes of ‘yellow’ company customers like me for months.

Of course, there was not a manager available for me to speak with in person.

Tightrope walker sculpture in the airport …


So, my recourse was to call my rental car company. Hahahaha. Right.

The ‘yellow’ rental company’s automated menu seems designed to loop you into oblivion unless you select the menu item to buy or renew something.

Then, you can speak with a human. I chose that option four times, speaking with humans each time. However, it was only the fourth call that resulted in my speaking with someone who actually put me on the phone with a real ‘manager’ who could actually resolve my issue.

Most everyone today has experienced something like this while dealing with customer service from most any business.

It’s the times in which we now live.

There are always silver linings …


My experiences with the first three customer support representatives from the ‘yellow’ company were professionally pleasant from an interactive perspective. But, a literal waste of time in terms of useful effectiveness of the service they provided.

Each of these first three representatives kicked the can down the road.

They followed the script and worked their shift to meet their ‘sales quota’ for the day [period]. Not much more and not much less. Rinse and repeat each day.

Working in that manner is deceptively unproductive. It’s not communication. And, it is certainly not the level of effective customer service that companies of this size portend to aspire to as a matter, of course, each day.

The ‘yellow’ rental company actually provided no service other than giving me the ‘run around’ in pretending that my issue was being resolved and someone would call me back. Nope. Nobody called and no annotations were made about my call.

Our adult daughter was instrumental in my wading through the maze. She assisted with communicating the issue a zillion times to each of the people we spoke with.

However, when the last customer service representative from the ‘yellow’ company with whom I spoke put me in conversation with a manager who could assist me, resolution happened in about three minutes.

Approaching Kansas City International Airport …


The subtle and nuanced interactions among musicians during a professional Jazz music performance are also great examples of synergy across the many layers of sophisticated communication involved. Although most of it is inherently intuitive, effective communication on the bandstand is essential.

The example of ineffective customer service here was based largely on the initial ingredient of poor communication. The subtleties and nuances are lost when the base information is not complete and all members are not in the loop.

This would be like attempting to improvise jazz by playing the same memorized lick over and over – and, confusing that with the genuine improvisational intentions of the music by calling the memorization of someone else’s experiences ‘improvisation’ – no, that’s not jazz. Memorizing is only the beginning rudiments.

“Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. They teach you that music has boundaries. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.”
― Charlie Parker

Jazz performances are not too unlike the levels of communication that went into the ‘yellow’ company ultimately providing appropriate and effective customer service to resolve my issue and any future occurrences of the same.


Not only did the area manager give us a full refund (less taxes, of course), but I was also able to get across to him the simple resolution would be to inform the rental desk at the airport not to sell the one-way rental product to the town where we went.

He agreed. Future customers will now not be sold the product we bought.

And, the employees of the ‘yellow’ rental car company are not put in an unreasonable or impossible situation due largely to outdated information.

In this case, the ‘yellow’ rental car company employees were empowered to provide the best customer service possible relevant to their respective positions.

Mark Turner Quartet ‘communicating’ …